Reserve Marines go through the same intense training programs and work in the same occupational fields as their active-duty counterparts. However, with the ability to train part-time at a Marine Corps Reserve unit near home or school, these Marines can continue to pursue a full-time civilian career or education.
The Marine Corps Reserve is critical to the Marine Corps? ability to provide a balanced, ready force and it is the largest command in the U.S. Marine Corps. The mission of Marine Forces Reserve is to augment and reinforce active Marine forces in time of war, national emergency or contingency operations, provide personnel and operational tempo relief for the active forces in peacetime, and provide service to the community (for example, through Toys for Tots).
Enlistment in the Marine Forces Reserve occurs through a process similar to that for enlistment in the regular active Marine Corps. Reserve Recruits attend Marine Corps Recruit Training along with active duty recruits, claiming the title United States Marine upon successful completion of the training.
Reserve Marines enlist for eight-year terms. There are three options on how these terms may be served, one of which is designated upon enlistment.
* 6×2 – Under this option the Reservist spends 6 years in active drill and fulfills the remaining two in Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). This is the only option which makes Reservists eligible for the benefits of the Montgomery GI Bill, and is also the most common.
* 5×3 – Under this option the Reservist spends 5 years in active drill and fulfills the remaining three in Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).
* 4×4 – Under this option the Reservist spends 4 years in active drill and fulfills the remaining four in Individual Ready Reserve (IRR).